Without prior notice or opportunity for public input, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Richfield field office announced last Wednesday—just before Memorial Day weekend—that it has opened 5,400 acres of public lands surrounding Utah’s iconic Factory Butte to unfettered cross-country off-road vehicle (ORV) use.
The BLM’s decision reverses the agency’s 2006 closure of the area to ORV use and will allow unrestricted motorized travel throughout the designated “play area.” When the BLM implemented the 2006 closure it explained that “Factory Butte itself is an iconic formation, highly visible from Highway 24 and is often photographed.”
Please take action! Tell the BLM what you think of its decision to open Factory Butte to off-road vehicle destruction.
Tell the BLM:
- It’s ridiculous that the agency re-opened Factory Butte to motorized use after being closed for nearly 13 years without seeking public input beforehand and without giving any advance notice. The BLM manages places like Factory Butte on behalf of the public and is accountable for its decisions.
- Post signs! ORV riders—even those who are well intentioned—won’t stay in the newly designated “open area” if that area is not easy to distinguish on the ground. The BLM has placed no signs on the inside of the “play area,” meaning there is nothing to keep riders off the butte itself. And contrary to the agency’s claims in its press release announcing that the area is open to cross-country use, the trend of violations by ORV riders around Factory Butte is on the rise.
- The BLM is destroying an iconic landscape! The agency’s decision ensures that one of Utah’s most recognizable landscapes will be defaced and damaged for years to come. Contrary to popular myth, these tracks don’t simply disappear after the next rain!
Longtime SUWA members will recall that protecting Factory Butte was a major fight in the late 90s and early 2000s. The closure of the area to ORV abuse in 2006 gave the land a much-needed chance to recover.
The BLM’s decision last week is further proof that the Trump administration has found its legs, and that no previous environmental victory is safe from those who would destroy Utah’s wildlands.
Please take action today. The BLM needs to hear from you.